Tuesday, September 27

Hostage taking in a Beirut bank shows the desperation of the Lebanese people


  • A 42-year-old Lebanese man has armed himself in a bank demanding that his savings be returned to him blocked in the bank to pay for his father’s medical treatment

Although he has enough money to pay for his father’s medical treatment, Basam al-Sheikh Hussein is unable to do so. The 42-year-old Lebanese has about $210,000 in savings stuck in the bank that you can’t access. In recent months, he has had to observe, paralyzed, the deterioration of his father but this Thursday he has decided to take action. Basam al-Sheikh Hussein has surrounded a branch of your bank in Beirut and has threatened to set fire to himself, the six hostages and to the bank if they didn’t give him his money.

For six long hours, the Lebanese capital has witnessed the birth of a hero. Hussein has become a kind of Robin Hood. Around the bank branch, they have concentrated dozens of people to show their support. Lebanon has suffered a serious economic crisis since 2019. The banks then began to apply informal capital control measures. Today, the Lebanese population can only withdraw 50 dollars every two weeks of your bank accounts.

Those measly 100 dollars a month are not enough for Hussein for the 50,000 What does your sick father need? When on Thursday he asked bank employee access to your savings and it was denied to him, he has taken out the weapon and has begun to shout that his relatives were in the hospital. Together with six hostages, he has locked himself in the Federal Bank branch from the neighborhood of hamrah in Beirut. While keeping five bank employees and a client with him, Hussein has negotiated for six hours with the police.

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Finally, the bank has accepted give 30,000 dollars to the new Lebanese Robin Hood, as reported by his sister in local media. As he left the branch to cheers, the authorities have arrested him. For now, he remains in police custody. This Friday his family has demanded his release despite being promised that if he turned himself in, he would be released that same day. Lebanese citizens are still waiting for their new hero, so victim of despair and injustice.

One of the worst crises since 1850

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But Hussein has not been the only Lebanese in take justice into your own hands. In January, another customer locked himself in with dozens of hostages, employees and customers, at a bank in the Beca Valley when they refused to pay him his money. After receiving the sum of money that he had demanded, the depositor turned himself in to the security forces. Incidents of this type are few compared to the drama of the situation. For three years, Lebanon has been the protagonist one of the worst economic crises in the world of the last 150 years.

According to the United Nations, the 80% of the population is below the poverty line. Added to the tragic economic situation was the beiru port explosiont in the midst of a pandemic. At the beginning of the month, two years have passed since the tragedy without any culprit having been convicted. In recent years, the local currency has devalued 90%, further drowning the Lebanese population. Thousands of people have lost all their savings in the bank. Driven into despair, they see in daredevils like Hussein the answer to this life condemned by the injustices and corruption of the powerful.

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